Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Some good news and some bad news....

Well, do I start with the good or the bad news?

Probably best to begin with the bad and then things can only get better after that!
This morning as we were feeding the hens we noticed an extremely horrid smell coming from the nest box that housed the light sussex hen sitting on 6 turkey eggs. On opening it we found that several had obviously gone rotten and smelled just revolting. Just in time I got the rest into a sealed bag before they exploded with a sound very much like gun shots.
The light sussex hopped out of the nest and was last seen relaxing in the nettles eating a large breakfast!
We don't know what's happening with the other six eggs under the little bantam, but she's sitting tight. It must have been the very hot weather that killed the eggs. Anyway, Saturday is estimated hatch day so we will know if there is any future to our turkey plans then.
It has become much cooler here today and is quite misty and drizzly - a welcome relief from the past few days.

So, onto the good news.
When my other half picked me up from the Craft Fair in Tarbert yesterday evening he said he had a surprise for me - and he did..... The other little bantam who had been sitting in a basket in the byre for the past three weeks had hatched out two little chicks! One is the most delightful little naked neck chick with a mop of blond hair and a stripey back. Just like its daddy!

The other is black - with an extra toe and bearing a remarkable resemblance to our late, great silkie/araucana cross cockerel . This little chick had been ejected from the nest box by another hen who was anxious to get in and lay her egg for the day without interference from anything as irritating as a newly-hatched chick! It was found on the floor almost dead. Remarkably, the little bantam had spent the entire incubation period being chased out of her nest on a regular basis by other hens who also wished to use the nest, and in the evenings I would lift her up and remove the extra eggs. Its amazing she hatched anything at all!

The new family is safely housed in a run by the house where we can keep an eye on them. Its really good to see new additions to the croft arriving.

To cheer us up after the exploding turkey egg incident, we discovered where the guinea fowls have been laying for the past four days - in the centre of a large patch or wild iris, stinging nettles and giant thistles down by the duck pond - and took out twelve eggs which are now being incubated by our old black naked-neck hen who turned growly yesterday morning and was still hogging the nest basket at feeding time this morning. Do we really need a dozen more screeching screaming guinea fowl? Well, probably not, but then again, why not...?

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